ROSETSU – Ferocious Brush

  • 6 September – 4 November 2018

    For eight weeks, Japan’s most famous tiger will reside exclusively at Museum Rietberg in Zurich. Now the entire temple’s painted walls and a number of other, awe-inspiring masterpieces by Rosetsu are being shown for the first time outside of Japan. 

    As legend has it, the Japanese painter Nagasawa Rosetsu (1754–1799) accomplished the monumental paintings of a tiger and a dragon, both symbols for the original life force of mankind and nature, on the walls of the central worship hall in the Zen temple Muryōji in one single night. These icons of Japanese paintings will leave its country of origin for the first time to feature prominently in an exclusive exhibition at the Rietberg Museum Zurich, which will last for 8 weeks. 

    The exhibition at the Rietberg Museum will survey Rosetsu’s art through a selection of sixty of his most important paintings. The works, many of which are registered as Important Cultural Properties or Important Art Works, come from various temples and renowned museums in Japan, Germany, and the USA. The highlight of the exhibition will be a magnificent ensemble of 48 screens and hanging scrolls, displayed in a recreated original floorplan of the Zen temple Muryōji. This Zen temple in the southern part of Japan’s main island holds the largest and most important collection of Rosetsu’s paintings, created in 1786. Various stories recount the creation of this breathtaking ensemble. The installation of these works would present an unprecedented opportunity to view and examine the paintings in a single venue outside their home in Kushimoto, and indeed the first such installation of architecturally specific paintings in an exhibition outside Japan.

    The exhibits run the gamut of formats and subjects, from exquisitely executed scrolls depicting birds and flowers in brilliant polychrome pigments to large-scale sliding doors and folding screens with fantastic landscapes, bizarre figures, and adorable animals. With his unconventional compositions and powerful brushwork Rosetsu always offers a fresh take on traditional subject matter. His paintings never fail to surprise, entertain, and charm.



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    Media reviews

    «Rosetsu l'excentrique»
    (L'Express, 4.10.2018)

    «Tiger mit sanften Augen»

    (Süddeutsche Zeitung, 3.10.2018)

    «Japans berühmtester Tiger ist in Zürich»
    (Stadt Anzeiger, 2.10.2018)

    «Rosetsu, l'original»
    (L'oeil, octobre 2018)

    «Rosetsu, l'excentrique»
    (L'Objet d'art, octobre 2018)

    «Le Musée Rietberg expose le peintre japonais Rosetsu»

    (RTS, 28.9.2018)

    «Der Meister des heiteren Strichs»
    (Basler Zeitung, 27.9.2018)

    «Le Rietberg montre le mythique peintre Japonais Rosetsu»
    (Bilan.ch, 24.9.2018)

    «Zwischen Katz und Maus»
    (NZZ am Sonntag, 23.9.2018)

    «Zum Drachen werden»
    (Taz, 15.9.2018)

    «Japan’s best-known tiger»
    (artmedia-agency, 13.9.2018)

    «Rosetsu – Il fantastico immaginario dal Giappone al Museum Rietberg di Zurigo»
    (Hestetika, 12.9.2018)

    «Rosetsu au museé Rietberg de Zurich»
    (Exponaute, 11.9.2018)

    «Rosetsu – Ferocious Brush / Retrospective at Museum Rietberg»
    (vernissagetv, 10.9.2018)

    «Tiger, Spatzen & Co.»
    (seniorweb.de, 10.9.2018)

    «Tiger, Drache, Affe & Co.»
    (journal21.ch, 10.9.2018)

    «Nagasawa Rosetsu, Une modernité délicate»
    (L'Officiel Galeries et Musées, Septembre 2018)

    «Rosetsu. Ferocious brush»
    (Arte.go, September 2018)

    (MAMe, September 2018)

    «Rosetsu au Musée Rietberg de Zurich»
    (Exponaute, 11.9.2018)

    «Diesen japanischen Maler verstehen wir auf Anhieb»
    (NZZ, 8.9.2018)

    «Der Tiger ist los»
    (SRF Radiosendung vom 8.9.2018)

    «Rosetsu mit Biss»
    (ZüriTipp, 6.9.2018)

    «Exzentriker mit weicher Pfote»
    (Tages-Anzeiger, 6.9.2018)

    «Ikonen Japanischer Malerei in Zürich»
    (SRF Tagesschau, 5.9.2018)

    «Tiger, Tiger, Flammenpracht»
    (SRF, 5.9.2018)

    «Japans berühmtester Tiger»
    (Tagblatt der Stadt Zürich, 5.9.2018)

    «Le Musée Rietberg montre des oeuvres jamais exposées hors du Japon»
    (swissinfo.ch, 5.9.2018)

    «La tigre più celebre del Giappone è in arrivo a Zurigo»
    (Sky Arte, 4.9.2018)

    (Casabella, 4.9.2018)

    «Nagasawa Rosetsu, D’un pinceau impétueux.»
    (L'Officiel Galeries & Musées, 4.9.2018)

    «Im Auge des Tigers»
    (SonntagsBlick, 2.9.2018)

    «Japans berühmtester Tiger»
    (arttv.ch, 30.8.2018)

    «Rosetsu – Fantastische Bilderwelten aus Japan»
    (Kultur-Online, 12.8.2018)



  • View of the exhibition


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    All Events (in German) More »

    Thu, 6 Sep 2018: 9–9.45 am + 6–6.45 pm
    Meditation session guided by Hachida Shōgen, abbot of Muryōji temple in Kushimoto, and other zen priests of the Rinzai school.

    In Japanese, with German interpretation.

    Villa Wesendonck, on the staircase overlooking the park (weather permitting), otherwise in the Summer Pavilion; bring your own cushion and mat; free of charge but places are limited, registration required

    Performance: 'Wind of Wisdom'
    Thu, 6 Sep 2018: 10.15–10.45 am + 7.15–7.45 pm
    Recitation, called 'rolling reading' of the longest text in the Buddhist canon, the Great Sutra.

    Loggia facing the park, Villa Wesendonck, free admission, no registration required, in all weather conditions

    Rosetsu @ Tea Time
    Wed, 12 Sep 2018: 3.30–5 pm

    Guided Tour through the exhibition 'ROSETSU – Ferocious Brush' with Professor Yamashita Yūji and Professor Matthew Mc Kelway.

    Smaragd, Language: Japanese with English translation

    Performance: Kasetsu in conversation with Rosetsu
    Sat, 15 Sep 2018: 11 am–12 pm + 2–3 pm
    In her staged performance, the Japanese contemporary calligrapher Kasetsu will explore what the Master was thinking.

    Sommerpavillon, free admission, limited seating, registration required

    Curator's view
    Thu, 20 Sep 2018: 6–7 pm
    Join curators Khanh Trinh and Matthew McKelway on a tour of the exhibition ROSETSU (in German and Japanese respectively).

    Meeting point is the “Emerald” extension; tour included in entrance fee; as places are limited, please register

    Rietberg-Talk: Japan as a Model
    Wed, 26 Sep 2018: 7.30 pm
    What we can (or cannot) learn from the Japanese model is the subject of this discussion involving representatives from the fields of economics, science, and the arts. 

    Vortragssaal, Park-Villa Rieter, CHF 25/15 (fee includes admission to museum on 26.9.2018; museum café open until 8 pm)

    The Power of the Voice – Dramatic jōruri chanting from the bunraku theatre
    Tue, 2 Oct 2018: 6–8 pm
    A single jōruri singer-narrator makes use of his wide range of vocal skills to lend all bunraku characters their expression.

    Vortragssaal, Park-Villa Rieter, CHF 30/25

    Symposium: Rosetsu in context
    Sun, 7 Oct 2018: 10 am–5 pm
    The Symposium presents an array of fresh perspectives on issues of art production and consumption as well as leading figures of the art scene that constitute the environment in which Rosetsu lived and worked.

    Vortragssaal, Park-Villa Rieter, free admission, registration required

    Registration »

    Concert: Pacific Quartet Vienna
    Thu, 1 Nov 2018: 7pm

    Vortragssaal, Park-Villa Rieter

    Tickets »